The conspiracy alleged in the Second Amended Complaint (SAC) is far more serious than I ever imagined. I’ve been studying it for the last two months. Only now do I have a comprehensive grasp of its contents. Unfortunately, I’m almost as familiar with the SAC as I am with the book of Romans. I certainly wish that was not the case! The Bible is far more desirable to understand than police reports, motions to dismiss, scholarly journals and legal documents about child molestation.
This has been made necessary because C.J. Mahaney and his co-conspirators continue to cover up alleged criminal activities of unimaginable horror and great proportions. I can’t wait for the day when I return to commenting on Scripture; but for now, I must pursue this providential assignment.
Therefore, I am going to begin posting about the conspiracy alleged in the Second Amended Complaint. I plan to break it down into bite sized pieces so people can follow along more easily. This post will focus on John Loftness and the sex crimes he is alleged to have committed.
Plaintiff Jessica Roberts-Thomas
Jessica Roberts-Thomas is a student at one of the premier law schools in the country. She was added as a Plaintiff in the Second Amended Complaint (SAC) filed on May 14, 2013. I casually knew her parents, Jim and Ann Roberts, at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland in the 1980’s.
Reference to her allegations against John Loftness first appeared in the legal document, Plaintiff’s Opposition to Defendants’ Motions Alleging Pleading Failure on March 27, 2013 in footnote 3 on page 5. It reads, “Plaintiffs’ are going to be amending the FAC [First Amended Complaint] to add more parties, one of whom alleges Defendant John Loftness physically and sexually abused her as a child.”
Complaints 86-93 in the SAC set forth her factual allegations. Complaint 86 begins in 1983 when she was five years old in kindergarten. Complaint 93 ends around 1988 when she was 10 years old in Sunday School (i.e. Children’s Ministry). She was born in January 1978.
Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas gives seven distinct accounts of supposed abuse. John Loftness is presented as her primary abuser. Five pertain to him. Stephen Griney as her secondary abuser. Two pertain to him. Four of the five accounts associated with Loftness make reference to physical and sexual abuse.
Roberts-Thomas has an older brother by four years, James Roberts. He too was added as a Plaintiff in the SAC. Complaints 32-39, 44 set forth his factual allegations. He cites David Adams and Nathaniel 'Nate' Morales as his abusers. He alleges John Loftness conspired to cover up the alleged crimes committed by Adams.
Here are the Complaints by Roberts-Thomas which are followed by my observations.
Victim: Jessica Roberts-Thomas
Location: Covenant Life School – Separate Room with a Window
Alleged Abuser: John Loftness, Unknown Man
86. Another victim of the Individual Defendants’ ongoing conspiracy and Institutional Defendants’ gross negligence is Plaintiff Jessica Roberts-Thomas.
87. During the 1983/1984 school year, Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas was five years old and in kindergarten. At that time, Defendant Loftness was serving as the School principal as well as serving as a pastor in CLC. Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas was in kindergarten at the school, with [Stephen] Griney as her teacher. Defendant Loftness entered the class, and took Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas out of class and to a separate room that had a window. There was a man unknown to Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas standing outside the window watching her and Defendant Loftness. Defendant Loftness directed Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas to bend over the desk and pull down her underwear. Defendant Loftness stood silently behind Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas for quite some time. Then Defendant Loftness began to beat Plaintiff with a white cord for a lengthy period of time. Defendant Loftness stopped beating Plaintiff [Roberts-Thomas] and she tried to pull up her underwear. Defendant Loftness directed her not to do so, and walked away, leaving Plaintiff there for quite some time. Defendant Loftness returned, and began hitting Plaintiff again with the white cord. Defendant Loftness then inserted the white cord into her vagina.
The addition of Jessica Roberts-Thomas and James Roberts as Plaintiffs in the SAC must have terrified certain Defendants and perpetrators. I suspect the information they supply investigators will lead to further indictments and arrests. There is no statute of limitations for felonious crimes and no pastor can hide behind the First Amendment or claim clergy-penitent privilege in order to cover up the sexual and physical abuse of children. None of these evasive arguments that have been put forth by Sovereign Grace Ministries will hold up in a criminal court.
In 1983/1984, John Loftness was managing editor of People of Destiny Magazine (a.k.a., Sovereign Grace Magazine), an elder in Covenant Life Christian Community, and the principal of Covenant Life elementary school.
The factual allegations in the SAC often describe a conspiracy of persons working together in order to abuse children, not just cover up the abuse of children by individual offenders unknown to each other. For example in this Complaint, Loftness is allegedly working with “a man unknown” and he also appears to be working in tandem with Stephen Griney, the kindergartener teacher. Griney allows Roberts-Thompson to leave his classroom and go with Loftness for a lengthy period of time. The “man unknown” also appears to be waiting for Loftness at the separate room according to a predetermined plan. The efforts of these three men appear coordinated according to the factual allegations.
In the account, Loftness enters the classroom and removes Roberts-Thomas. There is no indication this was because Roberts-Thomas was unruly and in need of discipline by Principal Loftness. Roberts-Thomas is then taken to “a separate room that had a window.”
As reported, this room must have been out of the way. It is not called a classroom. It could have been any kind of a room located in a remote, semi-concealed, or unused part of the school building. As described, Loftness and the unknown man outside the room looking through the widow, appear to have no fear of detection. There are two references in the account to “quite some time.” If factually true, Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas was disrobed for a long period of time in front of a window. That raised no apparent concerns.
The Complaint says the man watching was unknown to Roberts-Thomas when the initial abuse allegedly occurred. That does not mean she did not recognize the man thereafter. In a lawsuit, Plaintiffs’ lawyers leave out a lot of evidence they plan to present later in civil court or to law enforcement officials in private. I doubt Roberts-Thomas forgot the face of the man observing her. If she did, law enforcement has provided her photos of all the Covenant Life pastors, male teachers and employees at the time.
The alleged abuse and voyeurism occurred during the day at Covenant Life elementary school when classes were in session. Therefore, I doubt the “man unknown” was a teacher since they could not be away from their students for that long. Furthermore, I don’t remember any male school officials or teachers besides Loftness and Griney in 1983-1984.
That probably means the man was a Covenant Life pastor unknown to Roberts-Thomas when she started kindergarten. There is a small chance the alleged individual snuck in and out of the school undetected but that is high risk and unlikely. Therefore, I assume the “man unknown” was comfortable being seen at the school with Loftness and the children. His presence would not have stood out. If this allegation is true, the unknown man must have been a close friend/associate of Loftness.
Roberts-Thomas has a “lawyer’s mind.” She claims to remember numerous details. There appears to be no lack of clarity in her recollections. From my perspective, the details she recounts as a mature adult embarking on a career in the field of law sound believable.
On the other hand, if such allegations are lies than Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas is worthy of a gigantic lawsuit. Defendant Loftness should immediately counter sue for the most vicious libel imaginable – accusing someone of physically and sexually abusing children. Moreover, if the factual allegations are made up, Roberts-Thomas is deranged and can forget ever being a lawyer! Prospective employers in the future will be reviewing the outcome of her case. She must have taken all this into consideration when deciding to join the lawsuit and not go by a pseudonymous name.
Loftness allegedly directs Roberts-Loftness “to bend over the desk and pull down her underwear…for quite some time” and “then began to beat [her] with a white cord for a lengthy period of time.” This was no spanking. It was a sustained beating with a chord on exposed flesh according to the description.
After the initial beating as alleged, “she tried to pull up her underwear” but Loftness “directed her not to do so, and walked away, leaving [her] there for quite some time.” We are not told where Loftness goes but one assumes he joins the unknown man who is outside the room watching all of this supposedly happen through the window.
Later “Loftness returned, and began hitting [her] again with the white cord” according to the lawsuit. This is a second alleged beating. Then “Defendant Loftness…inserted the white cord into her vagina.”
Victim: Jessica Roberts-Thomas
Location: Covenant Life School – Room with Windows
Alleged Abuser: Stephen Griney
88. Also during the 1983/84 school year, Griney arrived outside where Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas and the other children were playing at recess. Griney isolated Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas from the other children, and took her into a room with windows from which the children outside were visible. Griney directed Plaintiff to lean over the table and look outside at the children. Griney pulled down her underpants, and began to rub his hands up and down her legs. Griney hit Plaintiff a few times, and then inserted his fingers into her vagina repeatedly as he aroused himself. After he concluded, Griney directed Plaintiff not to tell anyone what occurred, and sent her by herself back to recess.
This account, alleging sexual and physical abuse by Stephen Griney, occurred during the same school year as the alleged abuse by Loftness cited above. Roberts-Thomas was in kindergartner. Griney was her teacher. Loftness her principal. If true, this Complaint adds evidence in proving a conspiracy between the two men.
Griney’s mode of operation is similar to Loftness’ according to the account. Isolating the child in a room. Stripping the child. Hitting and sexually abusing the child. These things allegedly occurred in “a room with windows from which the children outside were visible.” It is a different room than the one supposedly used by Loftness which was “a separate room with a widow.” I will say more about Griney in a future post.
Victim: Jessica Roberts-Thomas
Location: Covenant Life School – Empty Class Room
Alleged Abuser: John Loftness
89. During the 1983/1984 school year, Defendant Loftness pulled Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas out of class as the class was learning to read. Defendant Loftness brought her into an empty class room, and directed her to pull her underwear down and lie across a desk. Defendant Loftness beat Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas repeatedly with a plastic cord. Defendant Loftness stopped beating, and Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas heard him unzip his zipper. Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas cannot presently recall what happened after that point.
It is still 1983/1984. This is the third account provided by Roberts-Thompson when she was a five year old in kindergarten. Two deal with Loftness. One with Griney. The same method is alleged. Loftness pulls her out of Griney’s class while in session. She remembers specific details like they were “learning to read.”
Loftness supposedly takes Roberts-Thomas to “an empty class room.” It appears to be a third room. He has her strip and then repeatedly beats her on exposed flesh with a plastic cord according to the account. This plastic cord may or may not be the “white chord” described earlier. After the beating, Loftness unzips his zipper. This implies masturbation. Roberts-Thomas “cannot presently recall what happened after that point.” This implies trauma after the alleged beating.
Victims: Jessica Roberts-Thomas, Heather Thompson Bryant, Third Unnamed Girl
Location: Covenant Life School (Aspen Hill) – Empty Room
Ages: Jessica – age 7, Heather – age 5
Alleged Abusers: John Loftness, Stephen Griney, Gary Ricucci
90. During the 1985/1986 school year, Defendant Loftness, Griney and Defendant Ricucci brought Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas into an empty room with two other girls. Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas recognized the girls, one of whom was Plaintiff Thompson. (The other is not being named here to protect her privacy.) Defendants directed the girls to strip off their underwear, and lay across desks. Defendant Loftness beat Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas on her bare buttocks. Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas heard the unnamed girl crying, and saw Griney hitting her on her bare buttocks. Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas turned over her shoulder to look for Plaintiff Thompson, and realized Defendant Ricucci had taken her out of the room. Defendant Loftness continued to beat Plaintiff Thomas-Roberts’ bare buttocks, and then he inserted his fingers into her vagina.
This account occurs two years later in 1985/1986 when Roberts-Thomas was seven years old and in second grade. It alleges a conspiracy between John Loftness (Covenant Life principal), Stephen Griney (Covenant Life school teacher) and Gary Ricucci (Covenant Life pastor). All three of these men worked for C.J. Mahaney, who was the senior pastor. They were also close friends with C.J. Especially Loftness and Ricucci. I will say more about Defendant Ricucci and Complaint 90 in a future post.
Once again, the SAC alleges sexual and physical abuse. Loftness “beat Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas on her bare buttocks.” He “continued to beat [her] bare buttocks, and then he inserted his fingers into her vagina.” This allegedly occurred in an “empty room.”
Victim: Jessica Roberts-Thomas
Location: Covenant Life Sunday School (Magruder High School)
Timeframe: Likely 1985/1986
Age: Likely age 7
Alleged Abuser: John Loftness
91. On one Sunday, Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas was attending Sunday School (then held at Magruder High School) when Defendant Loftness arrived and told the Sunday School teacher that he needed to take Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas. Defendant Loftness took Plaintiff down a hallway, and began to hit her, and then fondle her vagina. Defendant Loftness told Plaintiff that she needed to “learn to be good” and that he “loves” her. Defendant Loftness told her it is “her fault” but that he is going to help her “learn to be good.” Defendant Loftness hit Plaintiff again, and then walked her back to Sunday School. Just before permitting her to enter the class, Defendant Loftness told her that she is being “very good” and cannot tell anyone what occurred or she would “get in trouble.”
The timeframe likely remains 1985/1986 but the location changed from Covenant Life School in Aspen Hill to the Covenant Life “Sunday School (then held at Magruder High School).” Sunday School is a reference to Children’s Ministry.
Defendant Loftness was also considered a pastor in the church. I assume he left the regular worship service for adults and went over to the Children’s Ministry area. It says, “Loftness arrived and told the Sunday School teacher that he needed to take Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas.”
Roberts-Thomas certainty remembers the identity of her Sunday School teacher. This teacher may also be part of the alleged conspiracy with the “man unknown,” Griney, and Ricucci. I’m confident law enforcement has interviewed this person.
The account says “Defendant Loftness took Plaintiff down a hallway, and began to hit her, and then fondle her vagina” and later “hit Plaintiff again.” Physical abuse preceded and followed the sexual abuse as described in this allegation. Both supposedly happen “down a hallway” but not necessarily in a hallway.
In this Complaint something new appears. If true, it is as destructive to the human soul as physical and sexual abuse. That is the alleged sinister psychological manipulation of the Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas as a seven year old child. She remembers it well according to the SAC.
Here’s how her lawyers describe it. After the first alleged hitting, “Defendant Loftness told Plaintiff that she needed to ‘learn to be good’ and that he ‘loves’ her. Defendant Loftness told her it is ‘her fault’ but that he is going to help her ‘learn to be good.’”
After the second alleged hitting, “Just before permitting her to enter the class, Defendant Loftness told her that she is being ‘very good’ and cannot tell anyone what occurred or she would ‘get in trouble.’”
If true, here’s what I infer. First, Loftness is telling her she has been beaten because she is bad. Second, Pastor/Principal Loftness will teach her how to be good. Third, Loftness “loves” her implying sexual abuse is a legitimate expression of that love. Fourth, Pastor/Principal Loftness tells her she is good because she submitted to the physical and sexual abuse. Fifth, Loftness coerces silence by threatening to punish her.
This account describes the characteristic way a sex offender takes control of his victim. It is a textbook example. In my opinion, Jessica Roberts-Thomas either studied the stereotypical behaviors of sex abusers so she could paint Loftness in this evil light or else the allegations she makes are true.
There are only three options for explaining motive from my perspective. One, Roberts-Thomas hates Defendant Loftness for some mysterious reason and wants to destroy him. Two, Roberts-Thomas is money hungry and willing to commit fraud in order to get rich. Three, Roberts-Thomas is telling the truth.
Victim: Jessica Roberts-Thomas
Location: Babysitting - Bedroom
Timeframe: Not given
Age: Not given
Alleged Abuser: Stephen Griney
92. Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas’ parents arranged for the Grineys to babysit Plaintiff and her brother during the mother’s surgery. Griney directed Mrs. Griney and Plaintiffs brother to go to the store. After they left, Griney brought Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas to a bedroom, leaned her over the bed, and told her she needed to learn to be good. Griney hit Plaintiff, inserted his fingers into her vagina, unzipped his pants and proceeded to molest Plaintiff.
If true, I can’t imagine the pain Jim and Ann Roberts have suffered. When a sibling is abused it traumatizes the whole family and especially the parents. Child sex abusers typically build a relationship of trust with the parents and sibling(s). They are never suspected. Jim and Ann trusted Stephen Griney as did countless others. He was a family friend.
That’s why the Roberts’ asked the Griney’s to babysit Jessica and her brother, James, in their home while Ann was in surgery. James is also a Plaintiff. Griney uses stealth in getting Denise Griney and James Roberts out of the house (“go to the store”) according to the account.
Then “after they left, Griney brought Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas to a bedroom, leaned her over the bed, and told her she needed to learn to be good” per the Complaint. Learning to be good meant staying in position while obediently allowing Griney to allegedly molest her. “Leaned her over the bed” need not mean face first.
Victim: Jessica Roberts-Thomas
Location: Covenant Life Sunday School (Magruder High School)
Timeframe: Around 1988
Age: Around 10
Alleged Abuser: John Loftness
93. In or around 1988, Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas was attending Sunday School (then at Magruder High School). Defendant Loftness called her over into a hallway, and began to fondle Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas’ vagina. Defendant Loftness explained he was going to teach her things she needed to know, and took Plaintiffs’ hand and began to rub it on his penis.
This is the fifth account of abuse attributed to Defendant Loftness by Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas. It is the only one which makes no mentions of physical abuse. It occurs around 1988 per the SAC when Roberts-Thomas was older. She was 10. The first alleged incident of abused by Loftness occurred when she was 5. No one should assume the Plaintiff’s lawyers have included all the information available to them. There could be additional allegations against Loftness. Not every allegation of criminal activity is included in the SAC.
The setting is the same in Complaint 93 as in Complaint 91. Roberts-Thomas is attending Sunday School (i.e. Children’s Ministry) when the church met in Magruder High School in Rockville, MD. The alleged location also appears to be the same. “Called over into a hallway” (C93) is likely the same as “down a hallway” (C91).
This allegation goes further than previous ones. Not only does Loftness “fondle [her] vagina,” he also “took [her] hand and began to rub it on his penis.” If true, I assume the rubbing resulted in ejaculation.
Complaint 91 says Loftness was going to teach Roberts-Thomas how to “be good.” Complaint 93 says he was also going to “teach her things she needed to know” about sexuality.
Soon after this last account toward the end of 1988, C.J. Mahaney sent Loftness across the country to be on staff at Abundant Life Community Church in Pasadena, California. Loftness and his family stayed for approximately 1½ years but then returned to Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Did C.J. know about Loftness’ alleged crimes at the time? It is certainly possible. Unfortunately, C.J. was able to avoid his deposition because the SAC was dismissed. I hope he is deposed as part of the criminal investigation and asked under oath why he sent Loftness to California and why Loftness returned so quickly since he held an important position as the executive pastor in California.
Abundant Life Community Church changed it’s name to Sovereign Grace Church of Pasadena. Ron Boomsma is the senior pastor. He was a Board Member under Chairman Loftness. He continues on the Board of Directors (a.k.a., the Executive Committee) under Mark Prater. He is joined in pastoral ministry by Lynn Baird.
Boomsma and Baird should contact everyone who attended Abundant Life Community Church when Loftness was there in 1989-1990 and alert them to the factual allegations against him. That is required as faithful pastors. Parents should be notified so they have the option of interviewing their children as to the possibility of being abused.
Plaintiff Heather Thompson Bryant
The SAC also alleges the physical and sexual abuse of a second person by Defendant Loftness. Heather Thompson Bryant uses her maiden name, Thompson; not her married name, Bryant, throughout the SAC (see Complaint 4). That is probably due to the fact that her father, Chuck Thompson, was a much-loved and well-respected pastor at Covenant Life Church under C.J. Mahaney during the years his daughter was allegedly being abused by several predators unknown to him. Chuck was a friend and golfing buddy of mine.
Victims: Heather Thompson Bryant, Two Other Girls
Complaints: 21, 59
Location: Covenant Life School (Aspen Hill) – Room in School
Alleged Abusers: John Loftness, Stephen Griney, a Third Person
21. Defendant John Loftness resides at 3005 Arden Forest Lane, Bowie, MD 20716-3821. He served as Chairman of the Board of SGM until he recently stepped down. Defendant Loftness abused Plaintiffs Thompson and Roberts-Thomas, and is a member of the ongoing conspiracy.
59. On one occasion during the 1985/1986 school year, Defendant Loftness, Griney and a third person isolated Plaintiff Thompson along with two other girls attending the school. Defendants took the children to a room within the school, and directed them to take off their underwear. Defendant Loftness pulled a plastic rod along Plaintiff Thompson’s left leg and through her vagina. He then began to hit her bottom.
The alleged abuse of Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas occurred from 1983 to 1988. The alleged abuse of Plaintiff Thompson by Loftness occurred in 1985/1986 during the middle of this time period. It is highly unlikely these two Plaintiffs’ have had any contact with each other per the counsel of their lawyers who would want to preserve the independence of their testimony.
Complaint 59 alleges a criminal conspiracy between John Loftness, Stephen Griney and a third person. I will say more about this in a future post.
Plaintiff Thompson is supposedly taken to “a room within the school, and directed…to take off [her] underwear.” Defendant Loftness allegedly uses “a plastic rod” to abuse her as compared to a “white cord” (C87) or “plastic chord” (C89) in the case of Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas.
By all accounts, Plaintiff Thompson has a brilliant mind and excellent memory like Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas. For instance, she claims to remember Loftness pulling the plastic rod along her left leg, not her right leg.
Plaintiffs Thompson’s account is practically identical to the accounts given by Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas in Complaints 87, 89, 90, 91. The mode of operation described by both Plaintiffs is the same and involved physical and sexual abuse. Complaint 59 says, “Defendant Loftness pulled a plastic rod along Plaintiff Thompson’s left leg and through her vagina. He then began to hit her bottom.” If true, law enforcement will find this more than a coincidence because their stories clearly provide corroborating evidence.
Is John Loftness a Sexual Sadist?
Defendant Loftness is a sexual sadist according to medical terminology if Complaints 59, 87, 89, 90, and 91 are true. Here a few definitions.
The Sexual Sadist
By PAMELA KULBARSH
Created: November 11, 2009
A sexual sadist has intense fantasies and/or performs acts because he desires complete sexual, physical, emotional or psychological domination over another person. Sexual sadism may be either physical or psychological in nature. Sadistic acts range from behaviors that do not physically harm another, (although it may be humiliating to the other person such as, being urinated or defecated on), to criminal, violent, and potentially deadly behavior. The essential feature of sexual sadism is not in the feeling of sexual excitement resulting from the infliction of true pain on the victim, but rather it is from witnessing his or her suffering. In extreme cases, sexual sadism can lead to serious injury or death.
The Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders
The sadistic acts performed or fantasized by a person with sadism often reflect a desire for sexual or psychological domination of another person. These acts range from behavior that is not physically harmful although it may be humiliating to the other person (such as being urinated upon), to criminal and potentially deadly behavior. Acts of domination may include restraining or imprisoning the partner through the use of handcuffs, cages, chains, or ropes. Other acts and fantasies related to sexual sadism include paddling, spanking, whipping, burning, beating, administering electrical shocks, biting, urinating or defecating on the other person, cutting, rape, murder, and mutilation. In extreme cases, sexual sadism can lead to serious injury or death for the other person.
The Mayo Clinic
Sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges or behaviors involving acts in which the psychological or physical suffering, including humiliation, of the victim is sexually exciting.
Sovereign Grace Ministries does an annual Pastors Conference. In 2009, C.J. asked Mark Mullery to share “pastoral failures” committed by him and the pastors of Sovereign Grace Church of Fairfax in their defective care for the victims and families of sex abuse in the church. Mullery’s comments were woefully inadequate. Four Plaintiffs’ in the SAC are seeking to sue him and four other pastors for damages. Investigations are under way.
C.J. also distributed a 14 page article by John Loftness entitled, “When Child Abuse Occurs: Considerations for Pastors.” I believe Defendant Mullery’s “confession” and Defendants Loftness’ paper were part of a conspiracy orchestrated by C.J. whereby Mullery appears open about faults and Loftness appears an expert in caring for the victims of physical and sexual abuse.
Most significantly, C.J. used this setting to repeatedly and emphatically exclaim there has been, and there will be, absolutely no damage control in SGM including the cover up of physical and sexual abuse of children. I was at this Pastors Conference. I left SGM four months later.
All of this was part of a diabolical plan to mislead the movement. C.J. was well aware that he and others were covering up the criminal acts of sexual predators. Saying there would be “no damage control” was at the center of his plan to do damage control. See pages 107-112 in Concluding Remarks for C.J.’s comments.
In his paper, Loftness describes sexual sadism in no uncertain terms. If the factual allegations are true, he is describing himself.
“Some children are the victims of horrific intimidation and violence which they resisted without success, leaving them tormented by fear and subject to behaviors that grow out of fear.” (p. 8)
“Child sex abuse is a hidden sin, built around lies and threats and manipulation. So even when the discovery of this sin comes through the offender’s confession, you must begin your counseling relationship with skepticism. This is for the offender’s good. If he accepts his lack of credibility and allows you to explore his story and challenge his evasions, you build to build a relationship of trust. It’s a sign that repentance is beginning.” (p. 11)
“See if you can get him [the sex offender] to explore the motives behind his sin. What did he seek? What did he enjoy? The power? The excitement of forbidden pleasure? Vengeance for perceived wrongs? Such sins may play themselves out in sex acts, but they are driven by deeper and darker impulses. See if he will expose how these deeper sins, which may or may not be sexual in nature, play out in his other relationships…. Explore his sexual history. Was he ever the victim of someone else’s sexual domination?” (p. 11)
“You should also help him [the sexual sadist] to see that his sins are far more than simply sexual lust and that a whole web of deceit has twisted his thinking and his desires. Someone – a pastor or qualified counselor – should help him to explore the depths of his sinful thinking and to make the appropriate changes in how he thinks and lives.” (p. 12)
Sexual sadists love the feeling of power that comes from dominating their victims and observing their fear. They are degrading, aggressive, and intimidating. They enjoy sexual stimulation but also like to watch their victims’ suffer.
A sadist can be like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One minute telling the victim of his love. The next minute beating him or her. Is the former Chairman of the SGM Board a sexual sadist? Unequivocally yes, if the allegations are accurate.
Is John Loftness a Sociopathic Liar and Deceiver?
Defendant Loftness is a liar and deceiver of vast proportions if Complaints 59, 87, 89, 90, 91, 93 are true. Here’s why. The Second Amended Complaint (SAC) was filed with the court on May 14, 2013. That same day, Loftness posted an adamant denial of all wrong doing on the website of Solid Rock Church in Riverdale, Maryland where he is the senior pastor. Here it is in entirety.
May 14, 2013
Dear Solid Rock Church,
This week, the attorney representing plaintiffs in a lawsuit against pastors of my former church, Covenant Life Church, and a sister church in Northern Virginia filed an amendment to that law suit. That amendment includes allegations that I participated in the physical and sexual abuse of children 25-30 years ago.
My attorneys continue to advise me not to discuss this suit with others nor to make any statements to news media about the allegations brought against me and others. I have followed their advice and intend to continue to follow it through the duration of this suit. This, of course, is a challenge to you, as it is to me, but it is wise counsel.
I do think it necessary that I tell you something in general terms, and I ask that you keep this in mind as this suit is played out in the public arena: I have never physically or sexually abused a child—at any time, in any place, and in any way. Nor have I ever sought to shield someone I knew to be a pedophile from legal consequences for his actions.
Let us thank God that we live in a country where there is a judicial system which sorts these things out according to the rule of law. Let’s pray for a fair hearing of this case and a ruling that is in keeping with what is right and true.
Because we are so connected together as a church, this suit presents us all with many temptations. Let’s strive to respond to everyone involved and everyone affected by it with love and grace. We must see it in the context of God’s providence which sometimes presents us with storms of difficulty which seem to have no reason and no end. But just as surely as he has allowed my life to unfold in this way, he will allow this storm to pass—in his good time and in his purposeful way.
And let’s also remember our mission together as a church—to live lives worthy of the gospel of Christ so that through our example and our message we can make the grace and truth of Jesus known. I’d ask that you keep your focus on this gospel mission and not allow this suit to distract you from what is most important—knowing Jesus and making him known—together as a church.
If you have any questions or any concerns about this suit or anything I’ve written here, please direct them to our leadership team: Curt [Allen], Mike [Dixon], Glenn [Hickman] and Denny [Murphy].
I cannot put into adequate words how dearly Nancy and I love you and how deeply we appreciate your support through this extraordinary trial.
Loftness says “I have never physically or sexually abused a child—at any time, in any place, and in any way.” This categorical denial could not be stated more clearly or strongly.
We are left with two options. One, Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas, Plaintiff Thompson and other persons testifying against Loftness have conspired together in order to create a machination designed to destroy him for unexplained reasons. Or two, Loftness is a sociopathic liar.
Loftness also denies ever attempting to protect a sex abuser from detection or punishment. He says, “Nor have I ever sought to shield someone I knew to be a pedophile from legal consequences for his actions.”
Defendant Loftness appears 53 times by name in the SAC. That is approximately four times more than all the other Defendants. In this post, I only deal with the factual allegations against him concerning physical and sexual abuse. I don’t deal with the charges alleging his central role in executing an extensive conspiracy. That will come later.
This letter is full of horrendous manipulation under the guise of mature spirituality if Loftness is guilty. He explains his “extraordinary trial” as a mysterious providential storm of difficulty that will pass. Then he exhorts the congregation “to live lives worthy of the gospel of Christ” like he is doing.
We must see it in the context of God’s providence which sometimes presents us with storms of difficulty which seem to have no reason and no end. But just as surely as he has allowed my life to unfold in this way, he will allow this storm to pass—in his good time and in his purposeful way.
And let’s also remember our mission together as a church—to live lives worthy of the gospel of Christ so that through our example and our message we can make the grace and truth of Jesus known.
The day after this letter appeared on the Solid Rock website, it was removed. That implicates him. Furthermore, Loftness says he is committed to following the “wise counsel” of his attorneys (plural) “not to discuss this suit with others nor to make any statement to the new media.” That is totally absurd if he is totally innocent! An innocent man doesn’t not remain silent or remove his statement of innocence from the public domain in my opinion.
In 2007, C.J. sent Loftness to Solid Rock Church in Riverdale, Maryland. Defendant Loftness continues to preach and function as the senior pastor with no leave of absence required by his local leadership team, the regional Assembly of Elders in SGM, or the national Council of Elders in SGM.
In fact, Sovereign Grace Ministries has put out two statements that effectively support Loftness’ categorical denials. The second one also sympathizes with the reputational harm he has suffered with “no clear way to restore” it. Nonsense! Start by suing Plaintiffs Roberts-Thomas and Thompson for egregious slander and their lawyers for reckless malfeasance.
Statement on the Amended Civil Lawsuit Filed
May 14, 2013
Named among these alleged perpetrators is pastor John Loftness, former Chairman of the SGM Board of Directors. John Loftness has denied the allegations and has offered a statement which is available at http://solidrockchurch.net/.
Sadly, these allegations have damaged the reputations of the named defendants and leave us all in the difficult place of having no clear way to restore them. Let us reiterate that our review of the allegations has not produced any evidence of any cover-up or conspiracy by SGM. Likewise, defendant John Loftness, our former chairman, has publically denied having ever physically or sexually abused a child.
Is John Loftness Full of Hypocrisy and Wickedness?
Most certainly if the factual allegations against him are true.
Sovereign Grace Ministries (a.k.a. People of Destiny International) had a ministry magazine from 1983-2003. John Loftness was our Executive Editor in 1986 when we did an issue on “Breaking Free from Sexual Impurity!” He wrote the editorial introducing the issue. Here’s an excerpt.
“And so we present you with this [March/April 1986] issue of PEOPLE OF DESTINY. We publish with two premises: one, anything motivated by lust is sin, be it peeking at erotic magazines or videos or sleeping with someone who is not one’s spouse. And two, Christians can get free from the bondage of sexual sin, whether it’s caused by a rotten upbringing, a poor marriage, bad habits, demonic oppression, or a licentious pre-conversion lifestyle. Christians do not have to obey lust and its ugly expressions. We can be free. All of us.”
At the same time this editorial was written, Plaintiff Thompson and Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas allege being physically and sexually abused by Loftness.
59. During the 1985/1986 school year, Defendant Loftness…took the children to a room within the school, and directed them to take off their underwear. Defendant Loftness pulled a plastic rod along Plaintiff Thompson’s left leg and through her vagina. He then began to hit her bottom.
90. During the 1985/1986 school year, Defendant Loftness…directed the girls to strip off their underwear, and lay across desks. Defendant Loftness beat Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas on her bare buttocks…. Defendant Loftness continued to beat Plaintiff Thomas-Roberts’ bare buttocks, and then he inserted his fingers into her vagina.
91. Defendant Loftness arrived and told the Sunday School teacher that he needed to take Plaintiff Roberts-Thomas. Defendant Loftness…began to hit her, and then fondle her vagina…. Defendant Loftness hit Plaintiff again, and then walked her back to Sunday School.
If the allegations are true than the following passage of Scripture applies in full measure to Defendant Loftness. He is deserving of God’s woe (i.e., wrathful judgment).
Matt 23:27-28 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
Sex Abusers Are Extremely Devious
Boz Tchividjian was a former Assistant State Attorney with the Seventh Judicial Circuit in central Florida from 1994-2001. While in that position, he was the chief Prosecutor in the Sexual Crimes Division, where he gained much experience in cases involving sexual abuse and was personally responsible for the prosecution of hundreds of cases. He is also the President of G.R.A.C.E – Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment. See http://netgrace.org/.
In May, Mr. Tchividjian was a guest on the nationally syndicated talk show hosted by Steve Brown. He made the following crucial statement.
“People have to understand that sex offenders are perhaps the most deceiving living beings on this planet.”
In July 2011, it became necessary for me to send out 600 pages of evidence to all the pastors in SGM in order to show why C.J. was not above reproach. As a result, he was forced to take a leave of absence and Joshua Harris resigned. Only Dave Harvey and Jeff Purswell remained on the SGM Board of Directors. As a result, a new Board comprise of C.J. loyalists was appointed that included John Loftness. John served on the Board for 20 months.
In a move that further shielded C.J.’s from godly examination and accountability, Loftness was appointed Chairman of the Board in April 2012. He “served” in that capacity for 10 months until he resigned on February 18, 2013 after Nathaniel Morales was arrested for sex abuse and the First Amended Complaint was filed.
The press release from SGM gave the following reasons for his resignation.
“The time required in chairing the Sovereign Grace Board added to John’s already full schedule in both serving his church as well as caring for members of his extended family who are in poor health.”
At this time, Defendant Loftness knew lawyers and investigators were running down leads on him, Stephen Griney, Mark Hoffman, et al. He knew it was only a matter of time before he was named as an alleged abuser. That is the real reason he resigned as Chairman of the Board.
This kind of deception characterized Loftness’ leadership; not allegedly, but actually. I’ve documented his perpetual lies and deceit as a Board Member and Board Chairman in hundreds of pages of evidence. In this regard, he followed Dave Harvey’s example. Let me make some connections.
Harvey became the #2 leader in SGM after I resigned from the Board in November 2007. Five years later, he was told to step down from all SGM responsibilities by his local pastors and come under their discipline. This was announced on December 18, 2012. He left their discipline three months later on March 15, 2013. He left SGM on June 15, 2013. He is now the preaching pastor with an Evangelical Free Church in Tallahassee, FL. I’ve also documented Harvey’s lies and deceit in hundreds of pages of evidence. C.J., Dave Harvey, and John Loftness were the three most powerful men in SGM and they worked hard to mislead the pastors, ministry, and Body of Christ over the past two years.
C.J. fled Covenant Life Church in August 2011 without ever talking to Joshua Harris or the other pastors about his derelict decision which was rooted in profound personal offense. Mark Dever received him into fellowship at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. C.J. stayed five months and then went over to Solid Rock Church with John Loftness in January 2012. Three months later, C.J. working with Harvey, had Loftness installed as the Chairman of the Board. One week later, Loftness announced the relocation of Sovereign Grace Ministries from Gaithersburg, MD to Louisville, KY in a most devious fashion. Here’s an excerpt from a previous post.
Sovereign Grace Ministries Relocation Announcement
Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 11:25 PM
The cost of living in Gaithersburg, MD is the fundamental reason given in this announcement for the departure of SGM to Louisville, KY. That is dishonest. It may be a factor but it is NOT a major factor. The main reason, and everyone knows it, is C.J.’s conflict with Joshua, the pastors and the church. C.J. (and SGM) would never leave “the dearest people on earth” if not for the breakdown in relationships. No, C.J. is leaving because he is offended and unreconciled with hundreds of people including many close friends.
Why can’t C.J. and John [Loftness] just be honest! This is John’s first masterpiece (cf. “The Mona Lisa of Spin by Master Harvey,” October 20, 2011). He is carrying on the tradition of spin. John and the new Board are terrified by the prospect of being transparent – just like the old Board. The same sinful patterns of manipulation and cover-up continue unabated.
This is just one example of deceit by Mahaney, Harvey, and Loftness. I’ve documented scores of others just as serious. Here is one more example.
The following press releases regarding the lawsuit (i.e., Second Amended Complaint) were put out while Loftness was Chairman and Mahaney was President. The October 26 statement emphasizes there are no allegations against pastors/staff while discrediting the victims and even calling them liars (e.g. “a number of untrue…allegations”).
The November 14 statement also discredits the victims but goes further. It invokes the Second Amendment and discredits the Plaintiffs’ lawyers too. The January 15 statement claims Loftness and Mahaney are “working diligently in an effort to learn the truth.”
Here are some excerpts but links are provided for complete statements.
Updated Statement on Reported Lawsuit
October 26, 2012
It is important to note that it does not allege any act of child abuse by a pastor or staff member of SGM or of an associated church. SGM is not in a position to comment on the specific allegations at this time, but we are beginning a careful legal review of each allegation. Upon initial review it appears the complaint contains a number of untrue or misleading allegations, as well as considerable mischaracterizations of intent.
Updated Statement on Reported Lawsuit
November 14, 2012
SGM leaders provided biblical and spiritual direction to those who requested this guidance. This care was sought confidentially, as is a right under the First Amendment. We are saddened that lawyers are now, in essence, seeking to violate those rights by asking judges and juries, years after such pastoral assistance was sought, to dictate what sort of biblical counsel they think should have been provided. SGM believes that allowing courts to second guess pastoral guidance would represent a blow to the First Amendment, that would hinder, not help, families seeking spiritual direction among other resources in dealing with the trauma related to any sin including child sexual abuse.
SGM is not in a position to comment on the specific allegations at this time, but upon review it appears the complaint contains a number of misleading allegations, as well as considerable mischaracterizations of intent. Legal counsel is preparing responsive pleadings.
Updated Statement on the Amended Civil Lawsuit
January 15, 2013
SGM has been carefully reviewing each allegation since the initial claims first surfaced last October. We consider any allegation of harm to a child extremely serious and we have been working diligently in an effort to learn the truth. We ask for patience as we continue to investigate these new allegations. Please continue to pray with us for all those affected by this lawsuit.
As we initially stated and continue to reiterate, SGM considers the mistreatment of any child reprehensible and evil. We grieve deeply for any individual who has been a victim of abuse. We want to minister the love, grace, and healing of God to every child we encounter who has suffered such horror.
John, you were a friend for 30 years but based upon all the evidence in my possession, I believe you are guilty of physically and sexually abusing children. That evidence exceeds the testimony of more than two credible witnesses as required by Scripture. You also have extensive information that can lead to the arrest of multiple sex offenders. You must share this information with investigators. All of you need help. Honesty is the first step to getting that help.
John, please don’t wait for indictments and an arrest. Follow the advice of Boz Tchividjian (not your lawyers) and turn yourself in to law enforcement as a fruit of repentance. Come clean, get help, and seek forgiveness!
“First of all, a truly repentance offender will go with the pastor and will report himself to law enforcement and will suffer whatever penalties the civil authorities, the God ordained civil authorities, impose upon him or her.”
God ordained consequences are necessary but Christ’s grace can still prevail in your life. Making it your goal in life to help victims and prevent the physical and sexual abuse of children.
You are in my prayers.
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